Category Archives: Public Health

The Failing Federation: Why Canada Is Ineffective at COVID-19

In exploring how Canada’s Constitution has affected its response to COVID-19, Amir Attaran explains how the legal and political contours of Canadian federalism have become a brake on the country’s response to the pandemic. Unlike what Canadians may believe, the black letter law of their Constitution is not the cause of the problem, it is the federalism and the struggles between the federal government and provinces that has caused issues.

Worries about inflaming provinces and secession coupled with a federal government that only rarely seeks to assert its full constitutional authority has led to an ineffective response that is arguably the greatest cause of lives lost during the pandemic.

The problem is not the constitution, but rather the self-neutering political disinclination of the federal government to act. Attaran therefore identifies reforms that could be put into place and highlights Australia, Germany, and Switzerland as models for consideration.

Cyber Attacks and Cyber (Mis)information Operations During a Pandemic

Marko Milanovic and Michael N. Schmitt explain that the COVID-19 pandemic has starkly highlighted the need to further international cyber law discourse amongst states. Malicious cyber operations directed against medical facilities and capabilities and campaigns of misinformation have interfered with states’ abilities to effectively fight the virus and treat their populations.

These acts can be qualified as violations of international law, at time violating the state sovereignty, intervening in state internal affairs, and even amounting to wrongful use of force. At the same time, states have a duty under human rights law to combat harmful cyber operations and misinformation campaigns by states and non-state actors alike.

All states, human rights courts, human rights monitoring bodies, the academy, the private sector and NGOs must take up the challenge presented by this tragic pandemic to move the law governing cyberspace in the right direction.

U.N. Peacekeeping in a Time of Pandemic: Reconciling Armed Conflict Management While Helping to Fight COVID-19

Shortly after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, the United Nations issued an appeal for a pause in hostilities around the world. In this paper, Bruce C. Rashkow discusses how the pandemic has impacted U.N. peacekeeping operations in response to such conflicts and explores the ways in which peacekeeping forces have been, and will likely continue to be, hampered by the pandemic.